Chapter 29, Gunslinger
…Kelvin squatted by Dan watching as he tightened his crude bandage, Dan grunting and cursing under his breath. Glancing up at Kelvin he said. “What the hell you lookin’ at?”
Kelvin shrugged, “Don’t know. I was just thinking. I mean. Does it hurt much?”
Dan grimaced from the effort and question, shook his head more to clear his eyes from the pain and replied, “No. I get shot in the leg all the time.”
Kelvin looked surprised, “You do? I’ve never seen you shot before!”
Dan spat and chuckled a little. He closed his eyes and laid his head back, “You’re almost as dumb as Donni, Kelvin!”
Kelvin looked offended, “Donni’s not that dumb, Dan.”
Dan groaned, “Whatever you say.”
Kelvin stood up and fidgeted nervously about the balcony. He was coming down from the excitement of the gunfight and he just didn’t feel like sitting. He looked down at the ruined barroom. It would take a lot of work to get it up and running again, if ever. Then he saw the body of the bartender/owner again and wondered who would do it. Bodies and broken glass were everywhere. He should be happy to be alive and unhurt. Just relax, but he couldn’t, “When’s Carlton gonna get back?”
Dan opened his eyes, wearily. “Give him some time. He’s only been gone a few minutes. There is probably a lot of things to find out.”
“OK, ok, I’m going to go down and get a whiskey, if there is any left down there. You want me to get you something.” Dan just blinked at Kelvin for a second and then waived him on.
Kelvin walked down the stairs. He carefully stepped over the bodies and made his way to the bar. He found a couple glasses that weren’t shattered and a bottle of whiskey. Taking one of the glasses and the bottle he poured himself a whiskey and downed it quickly, then closed his eyes and leaned against the bar. Feeling the liquid burn a little in his throat and stomach. The question, ‘Why was everyone trying to kill his family?’, went though his mind again. A lot of his friends got killed and all they were doing was what was the right thing, right…??? Carlton said so. He spun as he heard several gunshots from outside and headed quickly towards the front door. Carlton was out there…
“Slow down, partner,” he heard a cold voice from behind and the back of the bar. As he slid to a halt, a cold clammy sweat came on in the pit of his back. Someone must have snuck in from the back door.
Kelvin turned slowly with his hands out from his sides to find Clayton Forrest standing there with his guns drawn. Kelvin looked at Clayton’s guns, well oiled and clearly well maintained, very lethal tools of his trade. He then looked into the man’s eyes. He was a killer, that much was obvious. Easy to read, even without his poker skills.
“You must be a Holt,” Clayton smiled slowly.
Kelvin felt a surge of anger. Stupid bastard. Why was everyone always trying to shoot him and his brothers? “Where’s Carlton?” Kelvin demanded.
Clayton shrugged, “Don’t know. Probably dead. I got four men out there shootin’ it out with one of them badges. You ready to die, boy?”
Kelvin frowned. What kind of stupid question was that? “No,” he said.
Clayton holstered his guns and lowered his hands to his sides. “I’m gonna give you a chance. I like your grit, boy.”
Kelvin kept his hands up and out from his sides, not lowering them anywhere close to his pistol. Kelvin frowned again. This guy was younger than he was. Where did he get off calling him a boy?
Clayton flexed his fingers slowly, one hand absentmindedly caressing the butt of one of his pistols. His instincts in high alert for movement from Kelvin, “Anytime you’re ready, Nevada.”
Kelvin smiled that’s more like it, “I like that. `Nevada’ Holt… it’s got a nice ring.” Still not moving his hands.
Clayton shook his head with admiration, “You got guts… for a dead man. Nobody’s going to remember who you are.”
Kelvin held up his finger on his left hand while moving back closer to the bar, and reached out for the whiskey bottle saying, “Mind if I have a drink first?”
Clayton smiled and nodded, “Sure. Seem’s a decent last request.”
Kelvin poured a whiskey then pulled the second glass over and filled it, “Join me?”
Clayton smiled as he moved closer to the bar and Kelvin. Making it easier to keep track of his actions, “You drink’um both. Hell’s a mighty dry place from what I hear.”
Kelvin shook his head slowly in distaste, “That’s sounds like something Zebediah Smith would say. And you know what?” Kelvin said as he eyed Clayton in what was left of the mirror behind the bar.
Clayton raised an eyebrow, “What?”, he asked. This was getting exasperating, time to just kill this Holt. Even if he never went for that gun at his side.
Kelvin flexed his right hand and the derringer up his sleeve slid smoothly into it. The right arm he had never let fall to his side, where his pistol sat in its holster, straightened slightly. The arm already leveled at the gunslinger. Kelvin quickly cocked the derringer and fired in a well practiced motion. Clayton’s mouth disappeared as the .45 slug hit him in the face, nearly removing his head from his body as he fell backward. Clayton’s gun went skittering across the floor. He had almost gotten the gun up before he fell backwards.
“I always wanted to kill that self-righteous bastard, Smith. ‘Specially since he ran off Donni.” Kelvin put his derringer on the bar and picked up a whiskey with his left hand, drinking it down smoothly. “Stupid gunfighters.” Kelvin looked up at the stairs, “You want a drink, Dan?”
Dan lowered his rifle and uncocked it, “Sure could use one.” Kelvin brought the bottle and a couple glasses up the stairs. He sat down and poured Dan a drink as Dan fished a deck of cards out of his pocket and dealt.
“Why didn’t you shoot him?” Kelvin asked.
“I can always tell when your feedn’ someone a line of bull or bluffin. Pair of Tens.” Dan announced as he laid down his cards and pulled in the pot with out even looking at Kelvin’s hand. Ten minutes went by as they continued drinking and playing cards, before they began to wonder what happened to the others. Kelvin was finally calm.